Spent the last couple of days driving down to California to do Christmas with the family at the Scott River Lodge, the retreat center managed by my son-in-law and daughter. Although the lodge is more than big enough to accommodate all of us, communal living does have a way of disrupting routine. So, while I’ll continue to work my way through the last few entries in my reading plan, finding computer time to put down some thoughts could be kind of challenging. Likely to be hit and miss.
But this morning, for right now, I’m alone and chewing on something I read in Job.
I can’t imagine the fear factor experienced by Job when God decides to answer him “out of the whirlwind” (38:1, 40:6). Whatever storm Job may have thought he had been enduring through his suffering, it paled when compared to the tempest experienced when the Almighty Creator determines to enter the debate. For most of this book Job’s comforters have been answering Job’s complaint and Job has, in turn, been answering back at their answers. Now it is the Almighty’s turn to answer. And when He speaks it’s like being in the middle of a hurricane.
But, though the sensory overload due to God’s manifested presence must have driven Job to his knees, I think hearing God’s accusation against him is what really humbled and mortified this man of whom God Himself had said “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (1:8, 2:3).
And the LORD said to Job: “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” . . . the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me. Will you even put Me in the wrong? Will you condemn Me that you may be in the right?
(Job 40:1-2, 6-8 ESV)
I think Job was shocked when He heard God’s summary of his arguments. While Job had certainly been defending his own record against his accusers, I mean comforters, I don’t think this man who feared God and sought to bless the name of the LORD in all circumstance (1:21) ever intended to find fault with God . . . or assert that God could be wrong . . . or seek to put God down that Job might lift himself up.
But, in a nutshell, that’s pretty much what Job had done.
And so I’m thinking, how does a godly man like Job end up getting on the wrong side of his God? Short answer: he allows his world to revolve around him rather than around his God.
He becomes so consumed with his own story that He forgets it’s but a subplot in a much greater narrative. He starts to believe that the ways he has planned, and the goals he has set, must somehow dictate the steps God should ordain for him. He develops a self-centered arrogance which, at least implicitly, asserts that his sense of right and wrong should define God’s sense of justice and purpose.
I don’t think Job consciously determined to find fault with his faultless God. I don’t think he said to himself, “Self, God must be in the wrong if I am to be in the right. Jehovah needs to be corrected so that I can be justified.” Rather, as Job allowed himself to increase, his view of God was forced to decrease. As his circumstance became the paramount circumstance, God needed to find an orbit around his planet. And before he knew it, Job had become a faultfinder.
O’ that I might learn a lesson from this man of God. Might I not cease to be ever humbled before an all-knowing, all-powerful God. By His grace, might I always see my circumstance in the greater context of His sovereignty. Trusting in His promised presence. Resting in His steadfast love.
Quick always to say, “Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.”
That above all things He might be given all the glory.